Reflections on Research
David Buss and the "Act Frequency Approach"
"Act Frequency Approach In science, it has proven to be very difficult, if not impossible, to find exact definitions for concepts of layman psychology, by either stating the conditions that constitute a certain personality trait, or by exhaustively listing all the acts that identify a bearer of that trait. What exactly defines an individual as "creative", "humorous", or "ambitious"? Equally difficult is the measurement of how strongly a trait is pronounced in an individual. As a solution, Buss and K. H. Craik (1980) proposed to introduce prototype theory into personality psychology. First, a group of people is asked to list acts that a person bearing the trait in question would show. Next, a different group of people is asked to name from that list those acts that are most typical for the trait. Then the measurement is conducted by counting the number of times (within a given period of time), a proband performs the typical acts." Quoted from Wikipedia.
Barnett Pearce, August 4, 2004
Arthur Koestler once wrote a book comparing his experiences in Japan (which he did not like) and India (which he did). I forget the title, but his characterization of living in Japan was this always having the sense of having done something wrong but not knowing what it is! That was my experience as well, IN PART; the other part was of highly aesthetic, cultured, and warm people, quick to laugh and solid in communal support -- IF you found your way into the system. [Koestler, Arthur (1960). The Lotus and the Robot. London: Hutchinson]
Edward Hall wrote a series of books on intercultural communication, in which he contrasted "high context" and "low context" cultures. Japan was the prime example of a high context culture, in which people are supposed to "fit in" to the situations and roles that are already established; in a low context culture, "individualism" is prized. [Hall, E.T. (1977). Beyond Culture. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday]
And others have made useful distinctions among "shame-based" and "guilt-based" cultures. [Some references: Dodds, Eric Robertson (1951). The Greeks and the Irrational. Berkeley: University of California Press. Benedict, Ruth (1946). The Chrysanthemum and the Sword. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. Christopher, Robert C. (1983). The Japanese Mind: The Goliath Explained. Tokyo: Charles E Tuttle. Erikson, Erik H. (1950). Childhood and Society. New York, NY: Norton.]
I'm sure you know more about these things than I, but it seems to me that "humiliation" might well take a different course in a shame than in a guilt based culture; and in a high context and a low context culture; as well as (and this was some of our discussion with Mike) when humiliation is low-intensity, prolonged and individual rather than high-intensity, episodic, and collective.
Please see also:
W. Barnett Pearce
Toward Communicative Virtuosity: A Meditation on Modernity and Other Forms of Communication
Santa Barbara, CA: School of Human and Organization Development, Fielding Graduate University. Paper presented to the seminar "Modernity as a Communication Process (Is Modernity "on time?")," April 15, 2005, Department of Communications and Social and Political Theories, Russian State University for Humanities Moscow, Russia 103012